Sefton & West Lancs – Encounters on a bike ride

It was a beautiful day for a bike ride yesterday so I set off from my Lydiate home through Maghull, Melling, Simmonswood, Aughton and Downholland back into Lydiate. It was a ride of just over 12 miles but quite a bit happened along the way.

Firstly, a van overtook me whilst I was negotiating the roundabout by the new Maghull North Station and the Poppy Fields housing development. To say the van was too close is putting it mildly; less than half a meter from me I would guess when the recommended amount of space to leave around a cyclist when overtaking them is 1.5m! Fortunately, the name of the firm was on the truck so when I stopped I Tweeted the Preston-based company asking them to advise their driver not to put cyclists at risk by driving so close to them.

Then I went down Spurriers Lane, which turns into Outlet Lane when it leaves Melling Parish and enters Simmonswood Parish in West Lancs. I had a brief look at the hugely controversial caravan site off the beginning of Spurriers Lane, near Carla Lane Animal Centre, and saw 4 or 5 caravans on it. My recollection is that the Champion newspaper recently reported that Sefton Council is having the landowner return the land back to its original condition as the development does not have planning permission. There was no sign of remedial works taking place.

I pressed on down Spurriers and into Outlet Lane and then a dog encounter, which I have never had before down that particular lane. I stopped a good 20 yards from the two dogs that were running free in the lane and retreated. The problem is you never know as a cyclist what dogs running free will do so its best to avoid them. Even friendly dogs can jump up and knock a cyclist off causing injury. When I stopped later for a brew in Town Green I e-mailed the West Lancs Dog Warden asking them to speak to the owners about keeping their dogs under control and I await a response. I also Tweeted the company of the too close van as mentioned above and I await their response too.

Then it was up and over Clieves Hill and what a view it was on a lovely sunny winters day. I also encountered the volunteer litter picker who often cleans up at this local beauty spot. Regular readers of this blog site will recall that I posted a while back about my encounter up there with a West Lancs Council litter cleaner who told me how bad the littering was and that there was a chap who did some volunteer litter picking. Well, I’ve now met the chap and we had a good chat about the mucky buggers who create so much mess in and around this lovely spot.

Down the hill into Downholland and I find myself approaching the Green Lane/Eagar Lane canal swing bridge over the Leeds Liverpool Canal but there were workmen on it and the bridge had clearly been closed. It soon became apparent why – one of the safety barriers had snapped off in the high winds as always seems to happen at this exposed spot. Indeed, the barrier was in the canal and was being fished out by contractors working on behalf of the Canal & River Trust. A narrow boat was waiting to get through the bridge and it was able to whilst I was there as the work had been completed and a new barrier is on order. Here’s a couple of shots of the activity around the bridge:-

Snapped off bridge barrier being hauled out of the canal

Narrow Boat at Eagar Lane canal swing bridge after bridge is reopened

Quite a lot of things going on on one short bike ride around Sefton and West Lancs.

Maghull – For all you volunteer litter pickers out there – Sunday 6th May

Meadow Community Wildflower Garden behind Sefton Drive on the Cheshire Lines Path in Maghull.

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At Meadow Community Wildflower Garden – Just behind Maghull’s Sefton Drive – See link above for details

Volunteer litter picking seems to have become a big hit in Maghull and Lydiate in recent times

Lydiate – Volunteer litter pickers

Good news – A group has recently been established to try to help Lydiate deal with dropped litter and volunteers are now meeting on the last Saturday of each month to litter pick roads in Lydiate. They meet at Lydiate Village Centre on Lambshear Lane.

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This builds on the longer established volunteer group (part of Maghull in Bloom) that has been litter picking the tow path of the Leeds Liverpool Canal for a number of years now.

I understand that this new group of volunteers want to expand into Maghull as well but clearly that depends on volunteers coming forward.

If you want to know more/feel you can help please contact Lydiate Parish Council for info :-

Tel 0151 527 2662
E-mail lpc@lydiateparishcouncil.gov.uk

Some may see the need to do this as a consequence of austerity and the inability of Sefton Council to keep our streets clean. There is clearly some truth in this, but volunteering in your own community is worthwhile in itself and many of us do it in many differing ways. You also make new friendships and it helps reconnect folk with their own community. Please consider helping if you can spare some time.

I am especially keen to support local environmental volunteering as this is an important issue to me; its why Sheila and I volunteer with Maghull in Bloom.